Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Italian Orange Salad

Reagan and I used to have this tradition where we ate pizza every Sunday night. Be it frozen, homemade, carryout - we ate pizza. After I had to go gluten free, I spent my Sunday nights pretending to like the flatbread(ish) pizza that I had to eat while Reagan ate something delicious.

The other day I remembered this Italian Orange Salad recipe and decided to "surprise" (ha!) Reagan with it on a Sunday night. (My reasoning is that it has pepperonis. That's pretty solid, right?)

Italian Orange Salad
serves 4

For salad:
1 small head of lettuce (or a bagged lettuce of your choice)
1/2 head curly lettuce
1 large can mandarin oranges
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 1/2 tsp. butter
1/3 cup walnut halves
1/4 tsp. salt

For dressing:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced onion
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seeds

To make walnut croutons, melt 1 1/2 tsp. butter in skillet.  Add 1/4 tsp. salt. Add 1/3 cup walnut halves and brown over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Combine all the dressing ingredients and shake well.  Assemble the salad and enjoy!

After this dinner, Reagan suggested we change our tradition to salads on Sunday night. I think that was the I'm-taking-three-finals-in-three-days-and-I'm-delirious-from-studying voice talking!

P.S. If you are ever in the mood for whipping up a homemade pizza, I highly recommend this recipe. Or, if you are really brave and want to try a creative salad, give this Southwestern Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Salad recipe a try! Pin It

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Green Chile Stew

Hello there! It has been forever since I last blogged! My lack of time is due to many projects at work, a busy law student husband, and the holidays being right around the corner (ahhhhh!!)

It's officially December, and it's still 75 degrees outside. However, as previously stated, that doesn't stop me from making cold weather foods. Enter - green chile stew. I grew up in New Mexico where green chile is put on everything. Cheeseburgers. Casseroles. Soup. You name it. I went to college and realized that is not the case in central Texas. "What do you mean you don't have a green chile cheeseburger??"

Moving on.

This recipe came from none other than my mom (don't most good recipes start that way?), and it's a favorite in our house.

Green Chile Stew
Serves 8

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. sirloin steak, cubed
2 onions, chopped
1 cup red wine
8 cups water
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, diced
1/2 cup green chile (or more if you prefer)
1 can beef stock
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
2 cups salsa

Saute steak and onions in oil for 5 minutes.  Add wine and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add carrots, potatoes, green chile, beef stock, cumin, coriander, and salsa. Simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with sour cream, cheese and tortillas.

Also, the countdown to Christmas is on! Does anybody else feel like the fall flew by? Reagan informed me this afternoon it was incredibly slooooow for him. That's the life of a law student, I suppose.

P.S. Can I get a sic 'em for the awesome way Baylor ended the season?? Pin It

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Snack Problems

The other day at work someone told me, "I feel like we're a lot alike in that we both eat all day. Every time I walk by your office, you're eating!" Thanks?

We both  had a good laugh, but really it's true.  This is where meal planning for Reagan and I is a challenge. He eats three big meals a day and nothing else; I graze all day and don't like "big meals." Such is life. 

I've been researching gluten free and lactose free snack ideas because I'm almost burned out on almonds. Blah. I've found a couple of recipes like baked apples and s'mores pudding, but my first endeavor was the 5 Minute No Bake Peanut Butter Bars. Let me tell you - these were SO easy to make and could easily be customized to your liking.

5 Minue No Bake Peanut Butter Bars (adapted from fANNEtastic food)
makes 12 bars

Dry ingredients:
1 & 3/4 cups oatmeal
1 cup crisp puffed brown rice cereal
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup coconut

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. In a smaller, microwave safe bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Microwave for 20-30 seconds. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined. Pour mixture into a shallow pan and press down. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before cutting.

I cut ours and wrapped them individually in plastic wrap so we can grab and go. Also, Reagan said, "Even though they look like bird food, they actually taste delicious." Pin It

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Black Bean Veggie Enchiladas

I've convinced Reagan to have one vegetarian day in our house. It doesn't normally end up as Meatless Monday, but we have Meatless Whatever-Day. This is a HUGE deal since Reagan didn't eat anything but beef until we met. Baby steps, people.

I got the idea for these enchiladas from the cooking bible, but I changed it up to use what vegetables I had on hand.  Enjoy our meatless meal from last week!

Black Bean Veggie Enchiladas (adapted from Taste of Home)
serves 2

1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini squash, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chopped green chilies
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1 teaspoon cilantro
8 small corn tortillas, warmed
1 can enchilada sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheese

1. Saute the onion, pepper, and squash in oil until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Add garlic and cook for one mintute more.  Add the beans, chilies, seasoning, and cilantro.  Cook until heated through, 2-3 more minutes.

2.  Spoon the bean mixture into the warmed tortillas. Roll up and place them into a 9x13 in. greased baking dish, seam side down.  Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.

3. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. 

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lifestyle Change

Reagan and I decided to make a few changes when school started this year. We are affectionately calling this project "Lifestyle Change 2012." Obviously, we think we are hysterical.

Here's the deal. Reagan will be busy this year. Like, 18 hour days busy. In order to spend time with my hard working husband, I need to have my evenings free to hang out at the law school, go to events, etc. How do I free up my evenings? Work out in the morning....

Honestly, this was NOT my idea. I have a normal office job, hence I don't have to study after 5 p.m.  My husband, on the other hand, has his nose in a law book most evenings. He suggested we get up and go to the gym together before work/school, then we I have more spare time in the evenings to be a dedicated law student spouse. I gladly agreed to this plan because I am not-so-secretly hoping it will cure Reagan's insomnia and help him sleep like a normal human being. (Law student sleeping problems are a whole other post!)

Last first day of law school

So, we are two days into Lifestyle Change 2012 a.k.a. 5 a.m. wake up call. How's it going? Not terrible. On Day One, the extra hour in the morning was the only time we saw each other, so it was worth it in my book.

The second part of our lifestyle change project is our meals. Since we are constantly running in two different directions, I'm making it a point to plan and prep meals for the entire week to avoid defaulting to Taco Bueno.

Meals this week include:
I generally take leftovers or an "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" salad for lunch; however, I'm struggling with lunches for Reagan. He says he will eat a turkey sandwich every day for lunch, but how long before that gets old? I would love suggestions on man-friendly, not too heavy lunches.

Vegetable and quinoa salad
So there you have it. Lifestyle Change 2012. Stay tuned. Pin It

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to the Normal

It's August. You know what that means? School is right around the corner....

With me working for a university and Reagan being a student, the beginning of the school year brings a lot of schedule changes. First, can I get an "Amen!" that Reagan is starting his 3L (i.e. LAST) year of law school?! *Supposedly,* 3L year is the easiest. When we are talking about law school, easy is a relative term. Easier means law students have figured out how to study 24/7 without wanting to pull their hair out. I digress.

Since summer is ending, I figured I would wrap up my summer adventures via Instagram.

(1) Packed up my office and started a new job in June. (2) Spent a couple of weekends with this little guy. I even saw him get his first haircut! (3) Grilled peaches (4) Surprise flowers from RM (5) Took StrengthsFinder at work - is it weird to anyone else how accurate those can be? (6) Went to a wedding in Dallas. The ONLY wedding of the summer. We didn't know what to do with ourselves. (7) FINALLY hung up the last thing in our apartment (8) Spent a weekend at the lake with friends and watched RM feed deer. (9) Homemade pickles from Reagan's dad & step-mom. To. Die.

This year, Reagan will be exceptionally busy with school and extracurricular activities. I'm starting a new work schedule next week so that we can be at work/school at the same time. Thank goodness for flexible bosses!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Confessions Part II

I went home (to my parents' house) last weekend. When I packed up to leave I raided their pantry and freezer and came home with enough groceries for the week. I feel like this isn't ok considering I am a "grown-up" now.

I run a Twitter handle for work. Every time a business/organization follows my on Twitter I wonder, "What human is behind this Twitter account reading all my tweets??"

I cut five inches off my hair last weekend.

Speaking of haircuts, my nephew got his first haircut last weekend. If this isn't the cutest thing you've ever seen, I don't know what is.

I am now a contributor to Lubbock in the Loop! You can check out my posts here and here. Right now I've done solely wedding-related posts, but there are more things coming soon!

Happy Friday! Pin It

Thursday, July 05, 2012

On the Menu: Fourth of July

Reagan and I spent our holiday hosting friends for a barbeque.  Reagan manned the protein portion of the meal with our new grill, and I of course handled all the (mostly gluten-free) sides.

Our Fourth of July menu included: slow cooked ribs, BBQ chicken, pepperslaw, baked beans, rolls, and skinny margaritas.

I tried out a new coleslaw recipe from Cooking with Paula Deen, and it received rave reviews! To be exact, it was described as "fresh and not swimming in mayonnaise." Can I get an amen?

Pepper Slaw (from Cooking with Paula Deen)
makes 6 servings

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups thinly sliced bell peppers (about 4)
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cups matchstick carrots
1/4 thinly sliced sweet onion
**I used one pre-packaged bag of coleslaw instead of the cabbage and carrots.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salts.

Stir in bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, and onion. Toss to coat.  Cover and chill at least one hour, or until ready to serve.

Like any good barbeque, we had to have baked beans. These came straight from D'Ann Wiley's recipe book.  Although, I think most southern moms have their version of this recipe!

Mom's BBQ Baked Beans
makes 8 servings

1/2 onion, chopped
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
1 can kidney beans, drainded and rinsed
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red pinto beans OR pork 'n' beans, undrained
2 Tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Saute the onion (in the bacon drippings if you're brave!) Stir in the other ingredients. Spoon into a baking dish and bake for one hour.

Since Reagan was using the oven to cook his ribs, I put the beans in the crockpot on low for about three hours, and they still turned out great. 

Happy 4th of July! Pin It

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It Doesn't Have to be That Hard

I would most definitely say that the lack of to-die-for desserts is worst part of having to become a gluten-free eater.  Notice, I said to-die-for.  I can eat a decent gluten-free cookie, but it just isn't the same.  As a sweets lover (i.e. I can eat icing with a spoon...), you can see how this would be a problem for me.

Or so I thought.  My mom, and my mother in-law coincidentally, recently found a recipe online for peanut butter cookies with no flour. {Insert happy dance here.}

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies (from the Food Network)
makes 18 cookies
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.

In a medium bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until well combined. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture about 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the mounds with the tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern on the cookies. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the cookies.

Bake until golden around edges, about 10 minutes, switching the position of the pans halfway thorough baking. Transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.

**Sidenote: to make the cookies extra doughy and awesome, cook them only 8 minutes. They won't look cooked all the way, but believe me, it's worth it.

Also, I stumbled across these coconut oatmeal squares from How Sweet It Is last week. Oatmeal? Coconut? Chocolate? I'll be darned, I can eat all of that.  See, it doesn't have to be that hard.

Thin + Chewy Chocolate Drenched Coconut Oatmeal Squares (from How Sweet It Is)
makes one 9×9 pan (about 16 squares)
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (measured solid)
1/4 cup honey

Spray a 9×9 pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, brown sugar and salt. Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add butter and coconut oil, stirring until melted. Add the butter and oil to the oat mixture, then add the honey and stir very thoroughly until the entire mix is moistened. Press it into the pan and stick in the fridge for 15 minutes.

chocolate layer
8 ounces good-quality chocolate, chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil (measured solid)
Using the same saucepan that you melted the butter and oil in, add the chocolate and oil and stir over low heat until melted. Remove the pan from the fridge and pour the chocolate evenly over top, spreading with a spatula or spoon. Place back in the fridge for about 30 minutes. When ready to eat, either cut the squares in the pan, or gently lift the square out and place on a cutting board to cut. It helps if the bars somewhat come to room temp before cutting, as they will slightly crumble a bit if super cold!

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Summer Beauty

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Favorites

While I will be spending a lot of time in my office this summer, I'll also be frequenting Austin, Texas. I can't wait for weekends this summer with the Lawyer Man!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Every Bride Wants {to entertain}

The extent of my entertaining these days is having a couple of friends over for dinner, or hosting my parents for the weekend.  However, Reagan and I can't wait until we throw more parties. Here are some recommendations of what every bride wants to entertain!

1. Cheese Board/Tray: I got a marble cheese tray (pun intended) from none other than Rebecca herself. It's so pretty and I put out cheese and crackers for guests to snack on any time I can!

2. Placemats and Napkins:  I received several sets of pretty placemats and napkins from a store I registered at in my hometown. However, you find pretty table linens anywhere from Crate and Barrel to Anthropologie or Pottery Barn.

3. Snack Bowls: We eat A LOT of chips and salsa in our house, so naturally these Fiesa Fruit Bowls are used for salsa as opposed to fruit. 

4. China: To register for china or nor to register for china? Granted, picking a china pattern is "old-fashioned" and not for everyone, but I just couldn't help myself.  We always ate on my mom's china during special events or holidays, and I couldn't imaging not having my own.

5. Pottery Barn Classic Stemware: I thought long and hard about where to register for stemware. (Wine glasses are important, ok?) Finally, I decided on Pottery Barn due to the fact that all the glasses are sturdy and I don't feel like they will break easily. 

6. Screwpull Wine Pump Set: Another Rebecca recommendation, "Perfect for people who have husbands that don't want wine every night. Pour a glass, put the rubber cork on and pull the air out and it stays fresh!" 

7. Specialty Food Items: Perfect for a foodie or cook. For example, specialty spices, sauces, coffee or drink mixes.

And that wraps up my gift-giving recommendations. Did anyone get a gift (wedding related or not) that everyone has to know about?

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Every Bride Wants {for the home}

Continuing with my lists of "What Every Bride Wants", the next installment is for around the home!

1. Bedding and More Bedding: Now that I live with a boy, I had to get rid of my "girly" bedding and try to make our bedroom look more gender neutral.

2. Wedding Date Pillow: My sister got me this burlap pillow from Etsy as a Christmas gift, and I absolutely love it.

3. Anything monogrammed:  I'm a total sucker for a monogram. Canisters, napkin rings, towels, you name it - I want our initials on it! If you know my husband, he loves to monogram things as well.

4. Pretty Bathroom Towels: Nothing makes you feel grown up like having nice, pretty towels in your bathroom. 

5. Picture Frames: You need something to put all your wedding pictures in!

6. Candles: I am obsessed with candles. I have them all over the house, and they are burning from the time I get home until the time I go to bed.  My favorite candle is WoodWick in Biscotti.
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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

What Every Bride Wants {for the kitchen}

Reagan and I were more than blessed to have three wedding showers, and packages arriving on our doorstep almost daily. Registering for gifts can be fun and/or stressful. For example, my husband registered for two different bacon presses and every type of grilling utensil imaginable. I stressed out over a china pattern.

I consulted with my fellow newlywed best friend Rebecca and came up with a ton of gifts we love, love, love.  Here's the first of a few buying guides for anyone attending weddings this summer, and I know there are a lot of you out there. First up, the kitchen!

1. Crate and Barrel Mixing Bowls: I didn't register for mixing bowls from Crate and Barrel, but after two sets of mixing bowl disasters (i.e. breaking); I decided to go with these.  I have the white set, and I've been happy with their durability and the way they stack to save room.

2. Veggie Chop: Rebecca says, "Small enough so that it's easy to store, but it can fit a good chunk of an onion or bell pepper."

3. French Press with Illy Coffee: This would be a good gift for the coffee snob. After getting this as a gift, we have officially crossed into "coffee snob" territory. 

4. Grind and Brew Coffee Maker: Rebecca says, "I leave the coffee beans in the airtight top and in the morning you just put how many cups you want and it grinds the amount you need. You can also pick the strength so it will do more or less. Awesome."

5. Kitchen Aid Mixer: I swear the food you make in a Kitchen Aid just tastes better.  Reagan took a picture of me the first time I used my mixer because I have been waiting all my life (ok - actually just the 6 months between registering and our first shower) to own one. There are also a ton of attachments (meat grinder, ice cream maker, etc. that make great gifts!)
It's love

6. Taste of Home Cookbook: I have said it before, and I will say it again - I cook 75% of our meals from recipes in this cookbook.  I call it my cooking Bible because it has recipes, cooking and food preparation methods, and detailed information about almost all food.  For example, I didn't know how long to grill a pork chop, but I looked it up in the "Pork" section.  It's nothing too fancy, just normal people food.

7. Texas Cutting Board: Our house wouldn't be complete without Texas kitchen accessories.

Now, I'm interested to hear, what's the most used tool/accessory in your kitchen?? Pin It

Friday, May 04, 2012

Friday Favorites

Clinique Must Haves

After Diana posted her favorite bridal beauty products, I got to thinking about my own beauty routine. She said she was a loyal Bobbi Brown girl, and I thought "I don't think I'm loyal to any one brand."

Think again.

I opened my makeup bag to see a Clinique explosion.  I credit my frequent Clinique buys to two things. First, I have sensitive skin and all of Clinique's products are gentle and unscented. Secondly, it's one of those brands that my mom always used, so I buy it too. (Kind of like, Folgers coffee. Please tell me someone else knows what I'm talking about!)

Onto my favorite Clinique products!

1. Long Last Lipstick ($15) - Dubonnet is my favorite red lipstick. It's red enough to be powerful, but not harsh-looking on my fair skin. I think the color is universally flattering because my mom wears it and my best friend, Rebecca, wore it at her bachelorette party; we all have very different skin tones.

2. Moisture Sheer Tint ($27) - My mom loaned this to me for my honeymoon, and I immediately bought my own when I got back. (Are we noticing a theme here - I steal makeup from my mom??) I love it for summer and the weekends.

3. Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($24) - I have incredibly oily skin and this keeps it under control!

4. Liquid Facial Soap ($16) - Gentle and unscented. Enough said.

5. Bronzer ($25) - I'm not a huge bronzer fan (I think it looks funny on me), but this is what I use when I need a little color on my face!

6. Chubby Stick ($16) - Yes, that's really what it's called. Whole Lotta Honey is my favorite fall/winter color, and I'm loving Mega Melon this summer.

7. High Impact Mascara ($15) - I have worn this mascara since high school, and I doubt I will ever stop. It doesn't smudge, and I always get compliments on my long lashes.

8. Quickliner for Eyes ($15) - I used to always have trouble with my eyeliner coming off during the day, but this stays put pretty well.

9. Superbalanced Makeup ($23) - I just recently switched from mineral powder makeup to the Superbalanced liquid.  This was also a recommendation from my mom, and I'm already sold! It isn't to greasy and looks natural.

There you have it! I'd love to hear what other makeup/brands everyone uses!
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Thursday, May 03, 2012

What to Wear: To Work

One of the (many) harsh realities of being a grown up is having to adopt a "business casual" wardrobe. I worked for two years in college as a marketing intern and had to dress business casual when I went into the office. However, my two-hours-a-day-intern wardrobe did not translate to a full-time-professional wardrobe. Thankfully, I work in an environment where there is not a strict dress code, and each department gets to determine their dress code based on their specific role within the organization. That being said, I work under a Vice President, so I have to dress the part. Likewise, some computer programmers in my building can wear jeans.

So, you land a job; learn the dress code, what's next? Well, if you're like me, you have a whole closet full of clothes but you're standing there saying, "I have nothing to wear!" (Reagan's favorite words...)

1. Take inventory. Since I majored in business, worked in college, and participated in a business club in high school, I had most of the "basics." I had black pants, pencil skirts, and the basic white button down. Also, before I started interviewing, my parents bought me a real, live suit. Once you start working, however, you realize that what you seldom wore in college, you have to wear every day at work. I had to figure out what exactly I needed to have a complete business casual closet.

2. Find a balance. I'm 23 years old, love to shop, play with make-up and tease my hair. Not everyone in the work world appreciates neon pink lipstick and the top not. I've had to find the middle ground between dressing my age, looking trendy, and not getting weird stares around the office. I am by far the youngest person in my office, and I don't want to attract the wrong kind of attention. My "balance" generally means wearing solid colors (I don't wear a lot of prints anyway) with flashy shoes or jewelry.

3. It doesn't happen all at once.  I've been employed full time for almost a year now, and I still think "I need (insert item here) to wear to work."  Every time I shop now I have to ask myself, "Could I wear this to work?" No matter how cute the jewelry, blouse, or shorts are, if I can't wear it to work it's not worth it. (Outfitting my law school husband is a different story because all of a sudden he has competitions! internships! speaking events! and needs 15 suits. That's a different post, a different time.)

I will be in the office most of the day this summer, but I can't wait to break out the bright colors. Neon lipstick included!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tortilla Soup

It was 103 degrees in Lubbock yesterday. The heat, however, didn't slow me down, and I made soup for dinner! Soup is generally a fall/winter meal, but I just love it too much to not make it in the summer.

Before I moved into an apartment, my Nana wrote off a ton of recipes and made me a cookbook. It has everything from soup and salad, to desserts and casseroles. (My personal favorite recipe in the cookbook is Texas Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cream frosting. Nana has managed to create a gluten-free version. Yuuuuum. Ok, moving on.)

Reagan had a meeting last night, so I pulled out Nana's cookbook and made this tortilla soup before he left. It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to simmer. Delicious!

Saute corn tortillas, cut into strips, with an onion and cilantro in oil.

Add your other ingredients,

simmer for 30 minutes,

and feed your hungry husband.

Nana's Tortilla Soup
serves 6

8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons cilantro
3 Tablespoons oil (of your choice)
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
2 qt. chicken broth
1 can diced tomoatoes
1 can Rotel
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute the tortillas, onion, garlic and cilantro in oil. Add other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with grated cheese, avocado slices, lime slices, and crisp fried tortilla strips!
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Thanks to my mother in-law, we have a new grill! She had been saying for a while we needed to pick one out for a wedding gift, and we finally did it last week. After assembling the grill for 3 hours... we were finally ready to put it to use.

He was excited, can't you tell?

I'm planning on using the grill for dinner every night, because that means Reagan cooks! :)

I planned all of our meals this week around the grill. Which leads me to my next point...

The first question I always get asked when people find out that I am now on a gluten and lactose free diet is, "Oh my gosh! What does your husband eat?? Do you cook two dinners every night?? That must be so hard!"

No, Reagan doesn't starve.  No, I don't cook two dinners every night. Yes, it can be challenging. Thankfully, Reagan is not picky at all, and tries anything I cook. (Black bean brownies included!)  He also understands that happy (not sick from gluten) wife = happy life. But, really.

What it basically comes down to is meal planning. I have to research, read, and plan for our meals each week.  All of this takes some time, especially if I have to find ingredient substitutes for recipes. We eat at home 90% of the time, since finding gluten free options at a restaurant can be difficult. We also have a Sprouts here in Lubbock where I can find lots of gluten free goodness. 

So, what do we eat for dinner? Protein, vegetables, and some type of GF starch (quinoa, brown rice, corn tortillas, etc.) Reagan still eats regular bread/rolls, cheese, and milk. He still has pizza every Sunday night, and I just eat something different or make myself a GF pizza.  Basically, we eat a lot less processed food than normal.

We have some good meals planned for this week, so I thought I'd share.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto
serves 4
Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, cut into four slices (I used regular slices)
Pesto (homemade or store bought)

1. Place chicken and one cup balsamic vinegar in a large plastic bag. Seal bag tightly and place in fridge to marinate for one hour.  (Don't marinate overnight or for a long period of time, the acid in the vinegar may break down the chicken breast, forming a mushy texture.)

2. Place the other cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes, until vinegar has reduced and is thick like syrup.  Take off stove and let cool while you cook the chicken breasts.

3. After the chicken has finished marinating, preheat the grill (or a grill pan). Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Put one slice of cheese on each chicken breast and leave on grill until it melts.  Remove chicken and place on a plate. 

4. Top each chicken breast with a dollop of pesto and drizzle balsamic reduction over top.

*This fits into my restrictions except the cheese. I just leave it off!

Spicy Crockpot Sweet Potatoes
serves 6
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

3 lbs. sweet potatoes (3 or 4 large)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Non-stick spray for crockpot
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ground fennel (this is a powerful spice, so I use a little less)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper (use more or less, depending on how spicy you want your potatoes)

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Put sweet potatoes in a large plastic bag, add 2 T olive oil and spices.  Seal bag and distribute oil and spices until the potatoes are coated.

2. Spray inside of crockpot with non-stick spray. Put sweet potatoes in crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours. Stir occaisonally to prevent burning on the bottom.

3. Mash slightly if desired, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

*Sweet potatoes can be cut and mixed with oil and spices earlier in the day. Cooked sweet potatoes can be kept in the crockpot on low or keep warm for a few hours if needed.

These recipes are proof that gluten free doesn't have to be terrible. I would make both of these regardless of being on a gluten free diet!

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gramps and Grummy

Please meet Gramps and Grummy.  They are my great-grandparents. For those of you who know my family, Gramps and Grummy were Nana's parents.

Over Easter, my family got to talking about Gramps and Grummy, so I thought I share some of their story!

Having lived well into their nineties, I can only imagine all the things they saw in their lifetime.  Wars, the invention of tv and internet, the Great Depression, their great-grandchildren - just to name a few.   Gramps and Grummy passed away several years ago at 98 and 96 years old, respectively.

We learned later in their life that they were kind of rebels when they were young. Gramps drove a motocycle and had a huge clown tatoo on his arm. Grummy wore a short flapper dress on her wedding day. 

Gramps and Grummy were married 78 years. 78 years. (Think abot that for a second!) They tied the knot at the ripe old ages of 20 and 17.  Before they passed away, they made it clear they wanted their headstone to say how long they were married.  Growing up, I didn't really understand what an accomplishment it was to be married for 78 years.  Most people don't live that long, let alone have a marriage that spans almost eight decades.

Being a newlywed, I have a whole new appreciation for them. I think about everything that has happened in the three years Reagan and I have been together, and I wonder what kind of stories we'll have after a lifetime.

So, this post is dedicated to all the couples who have seen many decades of life together; and especially to Gramps Grammy. Lovers of their families, the Texas Rangers, the Lord, and each other.

Happy Monday! Pin It

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Try Something New

Reagan was in Chicago this past week and weekend, so that means I tried out some new recipes.  Kind of like the soup I made last time he went out of town, these weren't exactly man-friendly recipes.

First up, we have Black Bean Quinoa Burgers from Clean Eating Chelsey.  The burgers were actually a lot more involved than I anticipated, but I have to say they turned out great. 

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers (makes 6-7 large burgers)
from Clean Eating Chelsey
  • 3 cups (or 2-15 oz cans) of prepared black beansMarch 21, 2012 002
  • 2/3 cup quinoa, dry
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 3 baby carrots (I think about the equivalent of 1/2 of a regular carrot?)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup quinoa, 2/3 cup water, and 2/3 cup vegetable broth to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover for 15-20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool 5-10 minutes
  2. Place quinoa and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse the food processor until the ingredients are combined, but not smooth or pureed. The burger should hold together nicely in your hands if you want to check to see if your consistency is okay.
  3. Using your hands, shape 6-7 equal sized burgers. Heat a greased skillet to medium high heat and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, flipping once.
**At this point, I put my burgers on the grill to “bake” the insides a little more so they would stay together a bit better. If you aren’t grilling, I would say to cook them in a 375 degree oven for 5-10 minutes to cook the centers of the burgers a bit more. It’s not 100% necessary, but my burgers did stay together a bit better!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze leftovers. Enjoy!

My parents came to visit this weekend! (Number one reason why Lubbock is great!) Since I had houseguests, I cooked our favorite Maple Ginger Pork Chops. 

Maple Ginger Pork Chops
The recipe was not new to me, but it was new to my parents and grandma.

Last, but not least, my mom and I decided to try out a Glowing Green Smoothie.  I've read a lot about Kimberly Snyder and her eating philosophy.  Since I have so many eating restrictions now, I'm interested in what people eat that have similar restrictions or lifestyles. 
Glowing Green Smoothie
I sent Reagan the above picture and he asked if it was chimichurri sauce. I wish.

The verdict on the smoothie: not for me. It has celery in it, and I hate celery. I thought the other ingredients may camouflage the celery (umm.... 8 CUPS of spinach?!) but no such luck.

I immediately made brownies. Much better! Pin It

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Pinterest stresses me out. Is it just me, or does Pinterest make every girl/woman feel like they need to dress in an amazing outfit while crafting, cooking an amazing dinner, and decorating a nursery all at the same time??

I watch A LOT of TV... Lord help me when Reagan moves to Austin for the summer and I live alone. That leads me to my next point. I need a TV show to start watching from the beginning this summer. So far some suggestions have been Revenge, Gossip Girl, and One Tree Hill. Thoughts?

I went to a TRX class with my mom on Monday, and I. Still. Can't. Move. I guess there is nothing like a good butt kicking.

My newest blog obsessions are:

Modern Eve

elle bow room

Camille Styles

Forgiving Martha

You should definitely check them out. Lots of pretty pictures and happiness!

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Recipe Roundup

When Reagan and I first started dating, we were both in Waco for the summer. The summer was pretty low-key, and we cooked dinner together almost every night. Before that summer I had baked the occasional cupcakes and helped my mom in the kitchen every now and then. However, I credit those couple of months with me learning how to actually cook a meal that someone else wants to eat.

Here's a recipe roundup of our favorite meals:

Cajun Chicken and Rice
Crockpot Taco Chicken Chili
Buffalo Chicken Soup
BBQ Chicken Enchiladas
Homemade Pizza
Filet Mignon with Balsamic Glaze
Sausage Pinwheels

And anything from this Taste of Home cookbook...

I got this as a wedding gift, and it is hands down the best cookbook ever. No recipe is too complicated or time consuming. Nothing calls for obscure ingredients that no one owns. A few of our favorites include BBQ Meatballs and Maple Ginger Pork Chops. Yuuummmm.

Now get to cookin'! Pin It

Monday, March 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

Sounds interesting, right? Ninety-nine percent of the time Reagan loves what I cook. The other one percent stems from a time I cooked a butternut squash. Reagan tried to force himself to eat dinner before saying he "wasn't hungry." Um, yeah right.

Reagan was out of town last week competing in a national moot court competition, so I decided to try out this butternut squash recipe from Clean Eating Chelsey.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Makes: 8 cups
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutesOctober 27, 2011 019
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours and 15 minutes
  • 3 pound butternut squash
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
Directions: Begin by peeling your butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Once peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks and place in a slow cooker. Next, peel and dice your apples – toss them in the slow cooker along with the diced onion and minced garlic cloves. Add your vegetable broth and water. Cover and heat on low for 6 hours. When 6 hours have passed, transfer your soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste.

If you can get over the fact that the soup has the consistency of baby food, it's pretty tasty.

Oh, and Reagan's team won the competition and is headed to Chicago for nationals in a month. You could say I'm proud of my favorite (future) lawyer! Pin It

Friday, March 09, 2012

DVF for Kids

I have seen Gap tweeting about Diane von Furstenberg for Gap Kids for a couple of weeks now. I saw these pictures today, and I am obsessed! Thank goodness my nephew isn't a girl; I could go nuts buying these adorable clothes.

You can see all these pictures and more here.  Too cute, right??
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

For the Dream Home

This weekend I'm headed to my parents house to hang out with them while Reagan is out of town. My mom is re-decorating her bedroom and has enlisted my help. This is interesting because it's a well known fact that I am the least creative girl in our family. My mom and Brooklynn have received many picture messages of me standing in a store holding two lamps saying, "I need help."  In any case, I agreed to do some research (on Pinterest, of course) and find some inspiration. My research turned into pinning-for-my-future-dream-home.

There's more where that came from on my Pinterest board. Hopefully this weekend will result in a decorating success! Pin It

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Wedding Days Are Gone

I officially unsubscribed from all the wedding blogs in my Google Reader this week. After a year of reading, planning, crunching numbers, pulling my hair out, crying, and laughing, my wedding planning days are officially over. Notice, it took me almost two months to get the wedding business off my mind. (Put down the wedding magazine Allison....)

I always knew I'd be that girl who obsessed over every detail and aspect of her wedding day. Over the course of mine and Reagan's engagement, however, I realized that the wedding is a tiny part of our story as a couple. Our wedding weekend was probably one of the most fun times of my life, and we felt more than blessed to have everyone we love in the same place, at the same time to celebrate our marriage.  That being said - it was just a weekend.

I thought it would be sad when my days as a bride ended, but I felt the opposite. It was much more exciting to be relaxing in Jamaica with a husband. (That still sounds weird...) It's also pretty exciting to be married to your best friend.

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